Gentle and not-so-gentle thoughts and musings from a Jewish, left-leaning, Canadian, pro-Israel, inner-suburban, fortysomething, libertarian, recovering perfectionist, quasi-socialist husband, dad, basketball fan, writer and editor with a few opinions.

wRanter.com - Gentle and not-so-gentle thoughts and musings from a Jewish, left-leaning, Canadian, pro-Israel, inner-suburban, fortysomething, libertarian, recovering perfectionist, quasi-socialist husband, dad, basketball fan, writer and editor with a few opinions.
Featured wRants
Thursday the rabbi walked out, or was he pushed?

Being a pulpit rabbi can be a cutthroat business

When Toronto Jews awoke last Saturday morning and collected their Globe and Mail newspapers from their doorsteps (those who still subscribe, that is), they discovered a front-page story detailing how Holy Blossom Temple, the city's ...

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He was burned by this very issue.

The Jewish community should fund its own schools

The fallout from the recent controversy over the creation of gay-straight alliance clubs (GSAs) in Ontario's publicly funded Catholic school system should give pause to those seeking funding – in the name of fairness – ...

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Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau

Israel shouldn't be a political football or litmus test

Despite public and private appeals to call off the event, the Jewish Defence League (JDL) went ahead with its unfortunate decision to picket a Liberal fundraiser at the Toronto home of pharmaceutical magnate and Jewish ...

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Being mislabelled by educators can make school a misery.

Your December-born kid may not have ADHD. He might just be immature.

A new Canadian study is bolstering an argument I've been making to my kids' teachers and principals for years: children born later in a calendar year are more likely to be diagnosed with attention deficit ...

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The next occupants of 24 Sussex?

Why Thomas Mulcair gets it when it comes to Israel

Not surprisingly, Thomas Mulcair won the NDP leadership last month, replacing Saint Jack Layton as the man social democrats hope can rally left-of-centre voters to defeat Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives. Here's hoping he's successful, but ...

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Jewish issues at centre of partisan sniping

Jewish issues and candidates made headlines last week and became the subject of some distasteful political rhetoric on the campaign trail. In Alberta, a 21-year-old hijab-wearing university student resigned Aug. 18 as the Liberal candidate in ...

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Who will be the next big-name Jewish MP?

Last week, we examined four “Jewish” battleground ridings, including two – York Centre in Toronto and Mount Royal in Montreal – where, one way or another, a Jewish candidate is likely to win. This week, ...

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Gaffes and ‘anti-Semitism’ on the campaign trail

In the Sept. 17 Globe and Mail leaders’ debate, Prime Minister Stephen Harper made reference to “old-stock Canadians” in defending his government’s policy on health care for refugees and immigrants, saying it had only denied care to bogus claimants.

Stephen Harper at wRanter.com

Stephen Harper

“We do not offer them a better health-care plan than the ordinary Canadian can receive,” Harper said. “I think that’s something that both new and existing and old-stock Canadians can agree with.”

Critics pounced, calling it either a lapse that showed Harper’s true racist colours or a deliberate, coded dog whistle to his intolerant party core.

But if you watched the debate, it was clear Harper was searching for a way to express how both new and old Canadians might agree with his policy. By the next day, he clarified that the phrase referred to “Canadians who have been the descendants of immigrants for one or more generations.” 

Under that definition, with four European-born grandparents, I and many other Jews qualify. As such, Walrus editor Jonathan Kay was right to say the comment was no big deal. Continue reading

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Refugees: a Jewish issue comes to the fore

A quintessentially Jewish issue has dominated the news and become a prominent election issue ever since the picture of three-year-old Alan Kurdi lying dead in the Mediterranean surf generated headlines worldwide earlier this month.

Alan Kurdi's lifeless body

The image that moved the world

For many, the painful image has crystallized the ongoing question of what the world ought to be doing about the human fallout from Syria’s bloody civil war, which so far has killed 250,000 people and created a staggering four million refugees.

It may be the Conservatives’ misfortune the photo has galvanized Canadians in the midst of an election campaign, and they’ve been caught flatfooted on terrain that’s traditionally been friendlier to their rivals. Both the Liberals and the NDP have called for Canada to quickly admit thousands more refugees, despite criticism that this won’t solve the problem and comes with security risks if they can’t be properly vetted.

This story is almost as central to the Canadians psyche as it is to the Jewish one, since many of us have come here fleeing persecution, poverty or both.

We Jews feel the issue in our bones. We were born a nation of refugees, as the Passover Exodus story attests, and our history is one of both wandering and exile. Whether it’s been at the hands of Babylonian soldiers, Roman centurions, Spanish Inquisitors or Nazi storm troopers, we know what it means to be uprooted. Continue reading

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Let’s cut the Jewish indignation in Parliament

Joe Oliver at wRanter.com

Maybe he was tired

What’s next? A discussion of the weekly Torah portion?

Or maybe a daily page of Talmud study?

Perhaps morning and evening prayers?

It seems that debate in Canada’s House of Commons has had a decidedly Jewish tone to it lately.

There are an estimated 315,000 Jews in Canada, representing less than one per cent of the total population, and there are only three Jews in the House of Commons, representing about one per cent of MPs.

But in the last week or so, Jewish themes have intruded on proceedings to an odd degree, and I must say that it’s all been a bit much.

For me, the message has been clear: Jewish MPs should stop using their Jewishness for partisan purposes, or perhaps they should tell their party leaders and whips to not pressure them into doing so.

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Free advice for the federal Liberal party

Bob Rae at wRanter.com

Finally, he’s done trying to be leader.

Well, well, well: it appears that Bob Rae has decided not to run for the federal Liberal leadership after all, despite rampant speculation over the past year that he would if the party let him.

This has to be a relief for people who’d like to see Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative wrecking crew defeated sometime before, oh, 2028.

That was unlikely to happen with the Liberals being led by Rae. Obviously, he carried too much baggage from his polarizing time as the NDP premier of Ontario from 1990 to 1995. As well, he turns 64 in August and would be 67 at the time of the next election.

Justin Trudeau at wRanter.com

Saviour, pretty boy, both or neither?

These facts hardly scream “renewal” to a party sorely in need of just that.

The temptation for the party will be to go for what might appear to be the quick fix, namely choosing 40-year-old Justin Trudeau, son of Pierre and MP for the Montreal riding of Papineau, as its next leader.

That may or may not be a great idea.

At the very least, party members should take a collective deep breath, have a good debate about who they intend to choose and – above all – avoid handing the reins to Trudeau in a coronation, because we all know how that turned out with the last guy. Continue reading

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Canada needs Conrad Black

Conrad Black at wRanter.com

“Thanks for the softball questions, Peter…”

In honour of Victoria Day, one presumes, Conrad Black, the former industrialist and onetime newspaper baron, he of the British peerage – his lordship, if you will – took part in what reportedly will be his one and only sit-down media interview, chatting with the CBC’s chief news anchor Peter Mansbridge at his palatial Bridle Path home in Toronto after his release from a Florida jail earlier this month.

Sitting in what appeared to be a study, with multitudinous volumes of books in the background, the 67-year-old Black was at his feisty best as he excoriated NDP leader Thomas Mulcair for using his parliamentary immunity to call Black a “British criminal” in the House of Commons. Black also took Mulcair to task for none-too-subtly insinuating that he had used his Tory contacts to gain a one-year temporary residency permit in Canada.

And like he always has, Black maintained his innocence in the most vociferous and florid of terms, as is his wont and tradition.

But aside from minor bouts of irritation with Mansbridge’s chummy, softball questions, it was a rather subdued performance from a man who was clearly looking to rehabilitate his tattered public image and burnish his quest to regain his Canadian citizenship. Continue reading

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